WASHINGTON — Sen. Orrin Hatch, a six-term Republican from Utah, has been forced into a primary battle in June after he fell short Saturday of the votes needed for an outright nomination during balloting at the 2012 GOP state convention.
Hatch, 78, who entered the Senate in 1977, will face former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, 37, in the June 26 primary.
Hatch needed 60% of the convention delegate votes, but on a second ballot he came up with 59 percent. Liljenquist came in second with 41 percent.
Liljenquist campaigned against runaway federal spending and stressed that Washington faces twin crises with $15.6 trillion in debt and huge unfunded liabilities that threaten future generations. He said it was time for “new leaders who have vision, passion and a plan.”